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Judge orders that 'America's toughest sheriff' be monitored for racial profiling

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

"America's toughest sheriff" Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been a highly visible reminder of the racial divide roiling in the state of Arizona. Arpaio has been forthright in his crackdown on illegal immigrants there. Now, a U.S. federal judge has ordered a monitor be appointed to oversee him on the job. The court-appointed overseer will make sure that his officers don't use racial profiling, especially of Latinos, when cracking down on illegal immigration.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ordered that Arpaio to cease using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions. The same judge ordered parties in the case to agree on the selection of a monitor within 60 days to oversee the work of the 81-year-old lawman.

Sheriff Arpaio is facing a lawsuit and investigation from the U.S. Justice Department accusing him of civil rights abuses. He strongly denies that he or his officers profile Latinos.

Under a portion of a controversial Arizona immigration law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona police may ask people they stop about their immigration status.

The recent judgment says it will make sure that its operations are carried out in a "race-neutral fashion," the ruling said. The judge also ordered audio and video recording of all traffic stops, increased training of sheriff's office employees and the implementation of comprehensive record keeping.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will also be required to create a community advisory border to bolster its public outreach efforts. Deputies must also tell dispatchers the reason for any traffic stops before approaching a vehicle.

"In conducting its activities, MCSO shall ensure that members of the public receive equal protection of the law, without discriminating based on actual or perceived race or ethnicity, and in a manner that promotes public confidence," Snow wrote in his ruling.

Arpaio said he was discussing the court order with his attorneys, who had identified "areas that are ripe for appeal."

"To be clear, the appointed monitor will have no veto authority over my duties or operations. As the constitutionally elected sheriff of Maricopa County, I serve the people and I will continue to perform my duties and enforce all laws."

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